The event of Oct. 22, 1980. Around 11:30 that morning the gaudy, extravagant looking craft seen in the photo on the left, Fig. 1,
1. Wedding-cake craft hovering
at the F.I.G.U. Center. Photo #800.
Click for enlarged version.
A view of the area from above is shown in Fig. 2, taken from part way up the hillside overlooking the Center in August of 1981. The main residence is on the right, and the structure on the left is the converted carriage house.
2. The Meier residence in 1981 viewed from overlooking hillside. The
carriage house is on the left,
and faces northeast. From a FIGU postcard.
Accordingly, a plan-view drawing of the layout is shown in Fig. 3 below. In it, the upper of the four green lines connects the camera location with a point directly underneath the left-hand corner of the overhanging eave, which is seen in photo #800.
3. Approximate plan view of the carriage house, camera location, main
residence and the low rock wall.
Lower windows of the main residence, seen in photo #800, are accented in blue. Position of superimposed
UFO is discussed below. Geometry and draftsmanship by J.P. Lagasse.
4. Recent (2006) photo of the NE end of refurbished
carriage house shot from near the SW corner
of the main residence. Photographer Michael Horn.
We have two independent estimates of how far from the far corner, or north corner, of the carriage house Meier was when holding the camera, such as to give the near alignment in photo #800 of the edge of the curving rock wall with the right-hand edge of the main residence. The estimate by Frehner, as noted, places it near the center of the carriage house wall, about 15 ft from its north corner. The other, by another F.I.G.U. member, places it about only 4 ft from this corner. In the diagram of Fig. 3 above, a compromise distance of 10 ft has been taken.
From photo #800 (Fig. 1) we may derive an independent estimate of how far away Meier was from the main residence by using the camera equation and knowing the dimensions of a lower window, say. The heights of these windows (their glass or window opening) was measured by Frehner to be 120 cm. Let us focus upon the 2nd narrow window (80 cm in width) past the two wide windows (or windows with shutters), which shows up just above the right-most sphere in the UFO's lowest tier in the photo. The camera equation is:
D = Distance from camera to object in question;My copy of photo #800, obtained in the mid-1980s, has a width of 132.9 ± 0.3mm, while the window height on this copy measures 6.3 ± 0.5 mm. Therefore, relative to the 36mm box width of the 35mm film, h is 1.71 ± 0.14 mm. Then D from above is 38.6 ± 3.1 m, or 126 ± 10 ft, with the 8% error due primarily to the uncertainty in the estimate of window height in the photo. From Fig. 3, the distance from camera to the window in question comes to 116 ft; if the estimated error is subtracted from the 126ft figure we do get 116 ft. Since Meier was outside the building's wall, this result suggests that he was right up against the wall. Hence the camera position in Fig. 3 has been set as close as possible to the northeast wall of the carriage house – just 1 ft away.
f = focal length of camera = 55mm;
h = length of object's image on the 35mm film;
H = length of actual object = 120 cm.
Distance of the wedding-cake craft from the carriage house. Using the ray-tracing technique, one may obtain a fair estimate of this distance. The camera level was about the same as that of the lower tier of spheres in photo #800, so that one may examine the image of the carriage house – its width – as it appeared at or near the "equator" of one of the closest spheres. The rays from the two sides of the northeast wall have already been drawn into Fig. 3, where they reflect from the closest sphere back to the camera.
5. Close-up of ray diagram at the closest sphere on the lower tier.
Draftsmanship by J.P. Lagasse.
The asymmetry in the shape of the images of the N.E. end of the carriage house in photo #800 is seen from Fig. 3 to be explained by both Meier and the wedding-cake craft having been located closer to the north corner than the east corner.
From Figs. 3, 5 and photo #800, then, we find from ray tracing that the wedding-cake craft was between 13 and 16 ft away from the camera and carriage house. From the geometry of Fig. 3, its diameter then is between 5.5 and 6.9 ft, given the above uncertainty in distance. The possibility mentioned earlier, that the craft might be half again the size of the 3.5m craft, thus seems possible. If the camera equation is applied to the relative width of the craft on photo #800 assuming a distance of 14.6 ft, we find a diameter of 6.6 ft., in general agreement with the above. (If we instead assume a distance from the camera of 36 ft, say, then the craft's diameter would be found to be 16.3 ft.)
These 5.5ft to 6.9ft dimensions rule out the hypothesis of a model UFO craft of 1 to 3ft diameter proposed by various skeptics. For a hoaxer to secretly move a complicated 6ft model around on various occasions, keep its surfaces clean and highly reflective, and keep it hidden when not in use, seems out of the question.
It might be thought that another method could be used in estimating the craft's distance from the carriage house: the textbook equation for a spherical mirror. The basic equation for a convex spherical mirror is: 1/D + 1/di = 1/f, where D is the distance from the surface of the mirror to the object in question (the carriage house), di is the distance (reckoned negative) from the surface of the mirror to the object's image inside the mirror, and f is the mirror's focal length (reckoned negative) equal to one-half the mirror's radius of curvature. A second equation is the magnification (or diminution) equation: |di|/D = |wi|/wo, where wo is the size of some feature of the actual object, and |wi| is the size of the image of that feature (carriage house). Upon choosing a sphere of 1 ft diameter (results are not sensitive to this choice), and the feature of interest again to be the width of the end of the carriage house, we then have |wi| = 0.4 ft, from any of the more prominent spheres of Fig. 1. (I.e., the image of the carriage house's width occupies about 40% of the mirror's diameter.) The width of the carriage house, measured by Frehner, is 29 ft. Given the two equations and two unknowns, D and di, I then find that D = 17 ft (about 5.2 m). This large overestimate with respect to the results of ray tracing (6.2 ±0.7 ft) is probably attributable to spherical aberration associated with the large angle subtended by the image and its large distance from the mirror relative to the mirror's diameter. In textbook usage, the object lies close to the mirror and is not large in comparison to its radius of curvature, allowing the image to lie close to the focal point.
What does Meier say about this finding? By Meier's recollection, in 2006, the craft was not nearly so close to the carriage house, but rather, was about 11 meters (36 ft) away. At that distance, the present ray-tracing analysis indicates that the width of the carriage-house images in the spheres would be only about 0.24 of their diameter, not 0.39. And the wedding-cake craft's diameter would then be about 4.8 m (15 ft), unless the above analysis is seriously in error.
Material added Jan.-Apr., 2013. From a Google-Earth-map's aerial view of Hinterschmidrüti not available just a few years ago, I have noticed that the plan view of the carriage house and main residence of Fig. 3 above is very substantially in error.
5.5 Location of the WCUFO and of Meier & camera within his property
during his taking of photo #800, according to Zahi's analysis, in which
this is his Figure C6. The WCUFO is depicted by the red circle.
In March of 2013 a fresh and more thorough analysis was made by Rhal Zahi, in which a correct (from Google Earth) plan-form for Meier's residences was used, plus "Blender" software, which keeps track of all reflections on mirrored surfaces including spheres. From this he found that the WCUFO in photo #800 was some 3 m in diameter and 6 m distant from Meier's camera. In a second study, using a physical model of Meier's property and taking pictures of a reflecting sphere at various scaled distances from the model carriage house, Zahi found the WCUFO to be a little over 3 m in diameter and some 7 m distant from the camera. He further found that Meier and camera indeed had been located right next to the carriage house, as in Fig. 5.5 on the left. In both cases he proved that a model WCUFO of diameter like 1/2 m was far too small and would have had to be located too close to the carriage house to explain its size in the reflected images from the spheres in Meier's WCUFO photos. See Zahi's analysis.
The event of 26 March 1981. Early in the morning on this day Billy drove out in his little tractor to the near vicinity of Dürstelen, some 5 or 6 miles southwest of his residence at Schmidrüti. Behind his tractor he pulled a small van, which he had by then also acquired, in which he could carry his camera and video equipment. He had a mental-telepathy appointment for another photo opportunity of Semjase's beamship of the "wedding-cake" type.
6. Wedding-cake craft hovering in front of van.
Brightness-enhanced copy of photo in the FIGU website.
Now if you examine the lighter stripes encircling the front side of the craft in a well focused photo of it, you find that the width of each strip is only about 20% of the width of an adjacent darker band. However, in the present photo, this ratio has expanded to about 80%, showing that the near edge of the craft is severely out of focus. Yet, if you follow the outer edge of the craft around to its rear side, next to where its view is blocked by the protruding underside structure, you find that this far edge is in good focus, as is the van, which for a height of 1.83m is estimated to lie about 26m away from the camera. This can only mean that the craft was large, and not any small model. If it had been a small model close to the camera, its far edge would also be strongly out of focus, when the focus setting is much greater than a few feet as it would have to be to put the van into good focus. We don't know, however, if this particular wedding-cake craft was of the 3.5m- or 7m-diameter variety, we don't know the f-stop setting Meier used at the time with the Ricoh camera, and we don't know the distance to best focus with much certainty. Hence we cannot estimate the depth of field with any certainty. But for a 3.5m craft, the camera equation indicates it was situated about 9.25m from the camera, with front edge about 7.5m away and rear edge 11m away. Then with parameters of: focus set at 15m, f-stop at 2.8, and the known focal length of 55mm, a depth-of-field formula yields good focus between 10.6m and 25.6m. This would leave the front edge of a 3.5m craft a couple meters too close to the camera to be in good focus, but would leave the rear edge in very good focus, and the van not in quite as good focus. This accords with the appearance of the photo.
However, if the craft had been a small model with a diameter of a typical garbage-can lid (22"), for example, its distance from the camera would be 4.7 ft, to produce an image occupying 62% of the width of a 35-mm film, as does the wedding-cake UFO. Then if the camera's focus is set at 7.0 ft, in order to bring the rear of the object into fairly good focus, and with the known focal length of 55mm, no f-stop setting will leave the front of the object in poor focus while leaving the van in rather good focus. For example, upon feeding these parameters along with an f-stop of 2.8 into the depth-of-field formula, one finds the nearest distance of good focus to be 6.6ft while the far distance of good focus would be 7.4 ft—giving a narrow depth of field, as expected. This would yield the front side of the assumed lid, which would be 3.7 ft away, in poor focus as desired, while leaving the rear side, 5.6 ft away, in good focus, also as desired. However, the van, which is some 75 ft away, would then be hopelessly blurred, lying far beyond the far distance of good focus. If the f-stop is increased to 11, then the depth of field only ranges between 5.7 ft and 9.0 ft, which would again leave the van hopelessly blurred.
Pictures of the craft between treetops. On 3 April 1981, Billy was allowed to take more photos (see Figs. 7-8 below), this time while he was on board Quetzal's Plejaren wedding-cake craft, according to Meier and his Verzeichnis. The photos are of a smaller but otherwise nearly identical wedding-cake type of craft. This was early in the afternoon, at a location some 15km SSW of his residence at Schmidrüti, hovering just above a section of a forest. Meier used just his Ricoh camera on this occasion.
7. Wedding-cake craft between two treetops
(lower center). Meier's photo No. 836.
8. Similar shot less than a minute later, No. 838.
Arrow denotes a secondary treetop shoot whose connec-
tion to the trunk lay below the photo's lower edge.
We now use the camera equation and check this conclusion and Fig. 8 for consistency with the camera's depth of field. First we notice that the rear treetop is obviously of a mature conifer full of dense, multi-branched growth, and is in rather good focus for its small branches to show up so well; we estimate its outer diameter at the base of the photo in Fig. 8 to have been 5m, with branches extending out about 2.5m on each side. The camera equation then gives it a distance of 28.2m. If the hovering craft were of 3.5m diameter, its distance from the camera would be 24.9m. The slightly out-of-focus nearer tree's distance is found to have been 4.2m upon taking the longer cones of the Norway spruce to have a length of 7 inches. This places the 7m-diameter craft Meier was perched on very close to the nearer tree top, and locates the craft in the photo at a point just in front of the distant tree top. Upon utilizing the same depth-of-field formula as previously, we then find, for a focus distance of 10m and an f-stop of 11, that objects will be in good focus at distances beyond 4.8m. Hence, the far treetop, along with the wedding-cake craft, would both be in good focus, while the nearer treetop should be in somewhat poor focus, as observed. Thus this wedding-cake craft could indeed have been the 3.5m-diameter craft that Meier was told was remotely controlled. In his Verzeichnis, Meier refers to this craft as "a second ship," the first one being Quetzal's ship, on which Meier was situated.
If, instead, the pictured craft in Fig. 8 had been a model UFO of some 22-inch diameter, its distance from the camera would have been about 4m. With that as the distance of focus, the depth-of-field calculator predicts good focus for objects only between 2.8m and 7.0m distant, again using an f-stop of 11. This result, as well as those using any other f-stop setting, place not only the postulated model UFO but the nearer tree top both in good focus, but places the distant treetop in poor focus, again in contradiction to what is observed.
Although one would wish that Meier had pointed his camera downwards and had taken some pictures showing the forest as viewed from above plus the edge of the wedding-cake craft he was sitting on, it seems more likely that he was not permitted to do this than that he simply didn't think of it.
However, in Zahi's analysis, it is shown conclusively, from the reflections in the spheres, that Meier and camera, and the WCUFO he photographed, were at treetop level.
A peculiar event occurred soon after Meier took these pictures and Quetzal had taken the craft down for Meier to dismount. Quetzal took his ship back up and, accidentally or not, rammed it into the nearer tree of Figs. 7-8,
9. Top of the tree rammed by Quetzal's ship.
Forest in background. Meier's photo #862.
However, the treetop is not the conclusive evidence Meier would have liked it to be, as the skeptic who ignores all the other supportive evidence could just claim that Meier had hacked off the treetop after the tree itself had been, for whatever reason, downed, and then stuck the treetop into the ground atop a hill to photograph along with a never-discovered UFO model dangling from a line just behind the treetop, using a distant treetop as background.
Yet the downed tree does add suggestive supportive evidence for several reasons. First, Meier's photos #851-854 (see #851, #852, #853) show the broken-off ends of the downed tree, and they show the bright fresh tan color of a recently opened healthy tree at the breaks and rips where it had indeed broken off; it definitely hadn't been sawed or chopped off. It takes tremendous force to break a tree off like that. Second, a hoaxer would have needed to be creative enough to have inserted a second, smaller treetop in the ground right next to the first one in order to simulate the complications of nature (see red arrow in Fig. 8). This secondary top shoot does not appear in Fig. 9, as its base lay some unknown meters below the upper break point. Third, it would not be at all simple for a hoaxer to locate an appropriate hilltop where he could erect a broken-off treetop such that no foreground grass or brush, and no background trees or hills, except the sky and a second treetop, would appear in the photos.
Nevertheless, the negative skeptic, upon ignoring the depth-of-field considerations and these other considerations, can claim that Meier and unknown assistants set up the broken tree top at the proper distances from the camera to achieve the pictures of Figs. 5 and 6. Thus one suspects it was no accident that Quetzal rammed his craft into the tree at appropriate spots. Otherwise, the skeptic would have been left with almost nothing at all to back up a desire that the episode be a grand hoax. A final consideration, however, is that no clever hoaxer, if arranging to have the top of a tree cut off for use in a hoax, would then show pictures of the severed tree top used in the hoax!
10. The small wedding-cake craft partially eclipsed
by fir tree. Cropped from Meier's photo #850 in Through
Space and Time (Steelmark, 2004). Image enhanced
using Paint Shop Pro X to bring out contrast between
foreground fir and background forest.
Wedding-cake craft partially eclipsed by large fir tree. Only after the English version of Meier's Fotobuch came out did I become aware of his photo #850 as published in Through Space and Time: A Photo Journal of "Billy" Eduard Albert Meier (Tulsa, OK: Steelmark LLC, 2004, p. 114). (Meier's "Verzeichnis: Authentischer Farb-Photos" gives the date as 4 April, 1981, apparently in error.) See Fig. 10. This was in the hills in the general vicinity of the villages/towns of Auenberg, Egg, Girenbad and Hinwil, some 15 miles ESE of Zurich. Meier shot it around 2:30 pm, April 3, 1981 while standing on the top of his van, according to his 1999 Verzeichnis. One can see 5 or 6 separate main branches of the tree eclipsing most of the right-hand side of the craft, with more of its branches extending out to the tree's left side above the craft on up to the tree's top. According to Dr. Edward C. Jensen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor, Forest Ecology and Natural Resources Education, Oregon State University:
"The portion of the tree above the potential UFO appears to me to be in the range of 6-10 feet. Although it's pretty fuzzy, there appear to be 5 or 6 whorls of branches with an average growth (and this is just an educated guess) of 1-2 feet between whorls." (March, 2006)This 6-10 ft estimate of the height of the portion of the tree above the craft then translates to a height for the craft of 4 to 7 feet, and a diameter of 8.8-15.4 ft, or from 2.7 to 4.7 meters. This suggests that it was the same 3.5m craft as shown in Figs. 5 and 6 above, and hovering very close behind the tree.
Another opinion on the tree in question comes from Professor Emeritus Doug Brodie of the College of Forestry, Oregon State University.
"The tree is one of the European true firs -- Abies species. The picture has only a portion of the top of the crown 10 to 15 feet. There could be anywhere from 10 to 50 feet of tree bole below the picture." (March, 2006)
Zooming in on the craft in front of a distant tree. On the same day of 1981 (3 April, according to FIGU's video of it), and near the same place,
|Fig. 11. Meier's photo #843.|
From the estimate of tree size, one may then estimate the size of the wedding-cake craft. Now, according to Professor of Forest Management, J. D. Brodie of Oregon State University, who gave me his opinion in 1986, the tree's height was only 3 to 7 meters (10-23 ft) tall. On the other hand, if the annual top growth is a typical 0.3 to 0.4m (12 to 16 inches; see Fig. 8), the tree's height comes out to be 5.5 to 7.3m, (plus whatever portion of the lower trunk lies unseen below the brow of the ridge). Hence a 7m height seems reasonable for the tree.
12. Wedding-cake craft in front of tree.
Brightness enhanced. No zoom used at this time.
From FIGU's "Ausschnitte-Reportage" videotape.
13. Similar shot when full zoom was employed.
Then the diameter of the craft turns out to be 3.5m, which agrees with previous estimates for the smaller, remotely controlled craft. Its distance away, from Fig. 11, is then suggested to be about 70m (230 ft).
When viewing the video, one may hear the sound of the zoom mechanism cranking the lens out; Meier zoomed in and out on the craft twice. This video was presented by Michael Hesemann at the 8th Annual International UFO Congress, 1999, and a videotape of its projection, entitled "The Reopening of the Meier Case" is available from the conveners. From it and its sound track one can be certain that it was a continuous video-taping not interrupted by any shut-downs & movements of the camera equipment; i.e., the two zoom-ins-and-back were genuine, and could not have been staged through shutting down the video-tape, moving six times closer to the tree, turning it on again, etc.
At one point in the tape one may observe Meier off to one side, to use his photo camera, while the tripod-mounted video camera ran unattended. According to Meier, Quetzal was standing behind him at the time, and for a while one can hear Meier speaking to him. The translation goes as follows, thanks to Christian Frehner of F.I.G.U.:
"Ja, isch guet." = "Ja, ist gut." --- Yes, fine [it's good]. [In the background you hear a chain saw.]
"OK" --- "OK"
"Ganz? Ja." --- "(The) whole (distance)? Yes." [meaning: zooming away]
"Ich hole die andere Kamera." --- "I go and get the other camera."
"Siehst du, jetzt kommen die auch noch." --- "Do you see, they are coming also." [meaning: the Swiss Army jet fighter plane that is heard passing over them.]
"Was meinst du, hält der Bleimantel? Wir werden dann sehen." --- "What do you think, does the lead sheeting hold? We will see."
"Aber weisst du, wenn du ein bisschen rund um den Baum drehen könntest. So steht es immer am selben Ort." --- "But you know, if you could turn a bit around the tree. In this way it remains at the same location all the time."
"Geht nicht? OK." --- "That's not possible? OK."
"Testen wir erst mal, ob es klappt mit dem Bleimantel." --- "Now let's test whether the lead sheeting is working."
"Ich nehm's nochmals her." --- "I take it in again."
"Ja, weisst du, herzoomen." --- "Yes, you know, zooming in."
"Ja, weisst du, wenn du rüber gehen könntest, ein bisschen ..." --- "Yes, you know, if you could move [it] to the side, a little bit ..."
"Was, schon wieder!" --- "What, again!"
"Da kommt jemand!" --- "Someone is coming!" [It could be Billy saying this, or Quetzal. When I asked him, Billy didn't know for sure either.]
So the video-taping ended at this point, and unfortunately Meier did not get to tape the departure of the craft. It is seen above that he twice tried to persuade Quetzal to move the remote-controlled craft while the video-tape camera ran, but Quetzal never did. This may have been part of the Pleiadian/Plejaren strategy of plausible deniability, so that skeptics who can't accept the reality of the UFO phenomenon could have something to be suspicious about. This might allow such a skeptic to assume the UFO was a large model somehow attached rigidly to the tree.
The above mention of lead sheeting pertains to some sort of lead shielding that Meier had constructed around the video camera to protect its video-tape, after the tape used on March 26th had been rendered useless by the close proximity of the similar craft. Evidently the shielding was sufficient for the considerable distance they were away from this craft.
It is not known or understood by what means Quetzal could control the wedding-cake craft remotely.
An enlarged view of the craft as photographed from the location where both Meier and Quetzal were standing, using a high resolution photo scanner in 2013, is shown here.
Wedding-cake craft photographed at night. An especially eerie feature of this craft is that it can be made to exhibit a gold coloration all over, possibly self-illuminated. This occurred on two occasions. The first was on 2 August 1981 (Fig. 14),
14. A wedding-cake craft, with auto below,
both behind a tree. Meier's photo #999.
15. Picture taken about a minute later.
Meier's photo #1000.
The squiggly line in the upper left of Fig. 14 was made, Meier was told, by a tiny, very rapidly maneuvering "telemeter" disc associated with the craft.
To maintain his sanity here, a negative skeptic must ignore the three previously discussed cases evincing genuineness, and assume that the tree is a tiny toy tree very close to the camera, the auto a toy car placed a few feet behind it, and the wedding-cake craft a model UFO suspended a few feet farther away. He might then assume the squiggly line to be an irregularly bent wire.
About a minute later, according to Meier's Verzeichnis record, he shot the photo of Fig. 15; his notes inform us that this was a different craft, a 7m craft. The touch of light green at the top is a tree branch too close to be at all in focus. The car is now 11.6 m (or 38 ft) distant; if the 7m diameter for the craft is correct, it was some 16.5 m (54 ft) away. Meier had evidently advanced nearly 60 ft closer to the car and road after taking photo #999. This suggests that the low hanging tree-branch tip is part of the same tree as in photo #999.
A tiny bit of the edge of the 14m craft appears at the same time in the upper left corner of another photo in this series taken at about the same time (see photo No. 24 of And Yet...They Fly or photo No. 26 of the German edition, ...Und Sie Fliegen Doch, which best shows it).
Considering the relative degree of focus of the car in the two photos, it seems likely to me that Meier mistakenly reversed the identity of the two craft in photos #999 and #1000, with the former one being of 7m diameter and latter one 14m diameter. If so, the above estimated distances to the craft would need to be altered accordingly: in #999 the craft would then be only 15 ft closer than the car, while in #1000 it would be 70 ft farther away than the car. This car was believed by Meier to be a Mercedes, but a 2-door Rolls-Royce Camargue of late 1970s vintage looks to be a better fit to me.
The second such photo occasion for Meier occurred three nights later, again in the middle of the night, right over the parking area in front of Meier's residence at Hinterschmidrüti.
16. Here and below, one of the wedding-cake craft
at night, at Meier's residence, 5 Aug. 1981. Photo #873.
As usual, we do not know the purposes of any of the detailed constructs it exhibits, unless one purpose is to provide ornamentation allowing skeptics to claim it is a model composed of household artifacts, so that they not be forced to believe what may be totally unacceptable to them. Although there seems to be nothing in this photo to indicate the craft's size, a recent (2012 or 2013) scan-up of its original film using higher resolution reveals more:
An analysis by Rhal Zahi reveals a pole and its shadow at the base of the hillside, along which appears to be a footpath: .
The pole and WCUFO arein the same good focus. These features are consistent with Meier's report that the craft was hovering over the Center's paved parking area, and hence was a large craft.
Debunkers' attempts. The primary claim that would-be debunkers have made against this series of photos is that the lower body of the wedding-cake craft is comprised of a garbage-can lid of the type that is used at the FIGU residence in Hinterschmidrüti.
17. A visitor (Philip McAiney) at Meier's
residence holding up garbage-can lid, circa 1998.
Where the resemblance to the lid ends, however, is that there is comprehensive structure on the craft's underside (see Fig. 8), obviously not present on the garbage-can lid. There is an outer circumferential ridge around the top of the garbage-can lid (see Fig. 17, where the visitor's right thumb and forefinger straddle the ridge), not present atop the wedding-cake craft (see Fig. 16). There's also a flange around the bottom base of the craft, not present on the garbage-can lid. The negative skeptic must assume that someone somehow snugly attached a flange to the base of the plastic lid, somehow smoothly filled in and leveled the top of the lid, before adding arrays of complicated adornments on top, and then also assume that all the camera depth-of-field considerations can be ignored. These are unreasonable assumptions in view of either the great difficulty for any hoaxer to achieve the result seen, or the several points of undeniable reality brought out by the daytime photos and videotape of the wedding-cake craft we have already viewed. In addition, the garbage-can lids are made of black plastic whereas the wedding-cake craft were a reflective silvery color in Meier's daytime photos and a reflective golden color at night. Thus, the garbage-can lid hypothesis fails to fit the data on far too many important points.
As far as FIGU members are concerned, they only had to point out that they had not purchased that make and style of garbage can until several years later than 1980-81. A strong suspicion exists, however, that around that time one of the Pleiadians/Plejarens implanted the design of the garbage-can lid into the mind of a garbage-can manufacturer whose product would later be sold in cities near Schmidrüti. If so, this would be another example of alien "damage control" to ensure that the Meier case, with all its photographic evidence, would not by itself cause a premature rupture of the UFO coverup. From what Meier has reported being told in his contacts, the Pleiadian/Plejaren ETs can, if desired, either remotely implant or erase selected memories within selected persons' minds; and from many UFO abduction cases we know that other aliens can also implant or cover up memories within the mind. Meier's Contact Report #22 (28 May 1975) makes especially interesting reading where Meier was told by Semjase that they could apply this capability to him, whereupon he objected most strenuously if they were to attempt that.
The other main attempt to debunk the wedding-cake craft has been by Korff (Spaceships of the Pleiades, pp. 215-217). One of the photos of 22 Nov., 1980 (see also plate #21 in Moosbrugger's And Yet...They Fly), seems to show an irregularity, which Korff implied was "warpage" of a model UFO. The "warpage" appears just below the lowest tier of spheres and about 30 degrees around from the front-center to the right, but it does not seem to show up in the two photos from this series that I possess (Fig. 1 above, and Photo #799). In Fig. 1 it appears that the shading reflected by the carriage house just behind the camera may have caused an apparent deviation in circularity of the "rim" just underneath the lowest tier of spheres. No warpage. It is not clear if this seeming deviation is an asymmetry in design or an effect of the discrete shadowing. No such asymmetry or "warpage" shows up in the photos of wedding-cake craft taken a half year later under daytime or nighttime lighting conditions; e.g., see the other photos above.
However, the rest of the craft is not totally symmetric, with a couple of the "spheres" in the lowest and middle tiers looking different from the others. We cannot just assume that all particular aspects of an alien craft must be perfectly symmetric, when we don't know what purposes these particulars may serve. It is especially important not to make this assumption when the aliens have good reason to provide negative skeptics with needed bits of plausible deniability. If we ignore this precaution we are, in essence, assuming that surely any aliens visiting Earth, though possessing far superior technology, would not be smarter than we are and not have a strategy for dealing with us that involves covertness and some accompanying deception.
This line of reasoning also takes into account the numerous instances of UFOs in the past 40 years that have been reported to have changed their shape or appearance while being observed. For example, see Georgina Bruni's You Can't Tell the People, (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 2000), p. 72, regarding the Rendlesham Forest case. Or in Google search for "UFO change shape" for thousands of cases.
Somehow the technology thousands or millions of years more advanced than ours is capable of achieving this kind of "magic," which, in the case of the Plejarens, could render it a simple matter for them to temporarily alter the outward appearance of their craft, when desired.
Korff went on to suggest that the circumferential band between the 2nd and 3rd tiers of spheres was a bracelet, and that protrusions extending out from between some of the spheres below it were carpet tacks. He presumably did not even consider that he had been duped by an alien strategy of plausible deniability, and did not point out any of the several convincing points of reality shown on this web page, which show that the width of the wedding-cake craft was at least an order of magnitude greater than that of a garbage-can lid. He also did not seem to be aware that by 1980-81 Meier was using the Ricoh camera, whose focusing mechanism worked properly unlike that of the Olympus camera he had used in 1975-76.
If we check out Korff's model claim against the camera's depth-of-field for that photo series, we find it doesn't work well. Let's take a diameter of 3 inches for the claimed bracelet, which being about one quarter the diameter of the claimed model, gives the latter a one-foot diameter. From the camera equation and the photo in Fig. 1, we then find the claimed model would have had to be very close to the camera—only 1.7 ft away. Then, because it's in excellent focus, we choose a focus distance of 1.7 ft. For an f-stop setting of 11, which gives a maximal depth of field, we then find the depth of field to lie between 1.58ft and 1.75 ft, which is extremely limited as one would expect for any such close-up. Thus Meier's residence in the distance would be rather far out of focus, being about 100 ft away. However, we see that it is only a little out of focus, with the windows and their edges showing clearly. This indicates the object was significantly larger than Korff imagined and situated farther away from the camera.
Since these early attempts to debunk the "WCUFO" photos, other attempts have come along. These have been well refuted by Michael Horn in his website and blog and by others.
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